Safety Stand-Down Imposed After Fatal Accident

The company that owns a natural gas drilling site where a worker died Saturday is on a self-imposed safety stand-down until an investigation into the man’s death is complete.

The man who was crushed to death by a piece of equipment at the Rice Energy natural gas drilling site in Belmont County has been identified at David Zamora, 43, of Victoria, Texas.

The well site is called Bigfoot 9H and is located off Ohio 149 near Belmont. Sheriff Dave Lucas said Zamora’s death was the first related to the natural gas drilling industry to occur in the county.

“It was classified as an industrial accident. Our end of it is over,” Lucas said.

Lucas said he did not know if the man was a Rice Energy employee or a subcontractor.

According to published reports, Zamora began working at the site three weeks ago with Lee Specialties, a wireline equipment company, and was expected to be back home in a week.

Rice Energy officials said the company is working to determine exactly what happened at the site.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family friends and coworkers of the individual that was fatally injured. In our five years of operating safely in Appalachia, this is the first major incident to occur on a Rice Energy site and we are deeply saddened by this tragedy,” said Mike Lauderbaugh, Rice Energy’s vice president of environmental health and safety. “The safety of our employees, our contractors and subcontractors has always been our top priority.”

“We are working with the appropriate agencies to confirm the cause of this incident and to ensure our continued operations are conducted in the safest manner possible.”

Zamora’s survivors include his 10-year-old son Dylan; girlfriend Heather Carr; parents Santiago and Lucy Zamora; and brothers Michael, James and John Zamora.